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Woman loses almost P3 million to fake Elon Musk she met on Instagram

By Melanie Uson Published Apr 24, 2024 9:39 pm

A South Korean woman lost 70 million won (almost 3 million) to a fake Elon Musk she met on Instagram who promised to help her become rich by investing her money.

Detailing the incident, the victim, alias Jeong Ji-sun, recalled on KBS’ show In-Depth 60 Minutes that she first received a message from the CEO of Tesla and X (formerly Twitter) on Instagram.

“I experienced something like a dream last year. On July 17 last year, Musk added me as a friend on Instagram. Although I have been a huge fan of Musk after reading his autobiography, I doubted it at first,” Jeong narrated, as translated by The Korea Herald

Despite her suspicion, she shared that they continued to talk, sharing how the fake Musk sent her photos of her ID card and a photo of him at work, talking about his children, and his typical workday like “taking a helicopter to work at Tesla or SpaceX.” 

“He also explained that he contacts fans randomly,” she added. 

In one of their conversations, Jeong said that she asked the fake Musk about his meeting with South Korea’s president Yoon Suk Yeol, where the poser claimed that they talked about establishing Gigafactories in Seoul and Jeju. 

“Musk even said ‘I love you, you know that?’ when we made a video call,” she said. After talking with Musk, which is a possible deepfake video, Jeong recalled that she was convinced to invest 70 million won (P2.9 million) and sent her a Korean bank number, saying “I'm happy when my fans are getting rich because of me." 

According to the show, Jeong’s experience was a “typical romance scam involving AI.” 

Its producer explained that the person posing as the multibillionaire CEO used a method called “pig butchering,”— a type of confidence trick and investment fraud by coaxing victims to make significant contributions before leaving them.